"The worst enemies of ants are often other ants," writes entomologist-cum-photographer Alex Wild. And what brutally savage enemies they are.
Ants are among the most remarkable – and remarkably diverse – social organisms on earth. This makes them endlessly interesting photographic subjects, especially through the lens of someone like Wild. His ant photography never fails to capture our attention (even when it's not actually of ants), and this gallery – which features dozens of images of warring ants and ant societies – is no exception. We've included a few of our favorites below, but you'll want to head over to his website to check out the whole collection.
All photographs and captions by Alex Wild
The worst enemies of ants are often other ants. Here, a Rhytidoponera victoriae scout (at left) has discovered an Stigmatomma ferruginea worker and attempts to wrestle it back to her nest. If successful, she will kill theStigmatomma and feed her to the larvae. Stigmatomma is too specialized as an underground predator to be good at general fighting, so is at a disadvantage here. Diamond Creek, Victoria, Australia
Azteca alfari Cecropia ants guard their tree zealously against intruders. Working together, they surround and immobilize their opponents such as this trap-jaw ant by pinning down their appendages. Gamboa, Panama
Nomamyrmex army ants are among the few animals that successfully attack leafcutter ant nests. The leafcutters are not without their defenses. Here twoAtta workers attack and kill a Nomamyrmex esenbeckii scout, preventing the army ants from discovering the leafcutter's trail. Gamboa, Panama
Myrmecia pilosula jack-jumper ants from neighboring nests, engaged in battle. Tower Hill, Victoria, Australia
Argentine ants (Linepithema humile), an aggressive pest species introduced by human commerce to California, attack a native Pogonomyrmex harvester ant. Native ants in many places around the world have disappeared in areas invaded by Argentine ants. Davis, California, USA
Oecophylla longinoda, the tailor ant, is fiercely territorial. Here they have pinned down a Polyrhachis intruder that has stumbled onto their tree. St. Lucia, KZN, South Africa